In Green's estimation, the biggest thing is familiarity. A year ago, The
Cardinals ranked in the league top 10 in offense and defense - Indianapolis was
the only other team to crack the top 10 on both sides of the ball - despite the
Cardinals having had a league-high 15 players on Injured Reserve by year's end.
"We're healthier right now but I think we just have a better understanding,"
Green said. "This is Kurt's second year, so he has had a whole season plus an
off-season and our objective is to be one of the better offenses. We were one of
the better passing offenses but that is not total offense."
Green was referring to quarterback Kurt Warner. Like Green, Warner said after
the final team organized workout that he sees improvement, especially up front.
"I see the comfort level of the offensive line, the adjustments they're making,
the moves they're making and the way they're working together," Warner said.
"From a mental standpoint, I feel a lot more comfortable where we are now than
where we were all last season.
"We have such a greater handle on the offense this year. When you're going out
there and you're running plays, you're expecting everyone to be in the right
place and make the right adjustments. Last year at this time you still were not
Moving the ball up and down the field pads statistics, but the team scored in 3s
- kicker Neil Rackers set a league record for field goals - because it could not
punch the ball into the end zone. That should change, Warner believes, with an
upgraded line and the signing of running back Edgerrin James.
"We all understand we have to be better running the ball," Warner said. "We
can't be one-dimensional in the red zone. It's tough because teams play a zone
and the holes are tough and it's just tough to work. So you have to able to run
the ball. If a defense wants to put everyone back in zone coverage, you have to
be able to run the ball."
--TE John Bronson (6-feet-2, 260 pounds), whose 2005 rookie season was thwarted
by a knee injury in the opener, has made a recovery and is trying a new position
The team does not have a stud blocker at fullback, and tight end suddenly
appears to be the domain of rookie third-round pick Leonard Pope.
"In college I was switching between positions I had played in high school
(defensive end, tight end at Penn State) so I knew a little bit and it was not
as hard," Bronson said. "I have to learn all of the different formations and
learn to read the defenses more than what I would as a tight end so it is more
difficult for me."
The team is keeping close watch on another young player at a new position.
Undrafted rookie Micheal Spurlock, a quarterback at Mississippi, is getting a
look at receiver and may also get a tryout as a return specialist in training
--Commissioner Paul Tagliabue was in Phoenix, touring the new stadium that opens
in suburban Glendale in August and visiting with Cardinals ownership and
management. The new stadium is sold out for 2006. It is to be the site of the
2008 Super Bowl.
"The design is so bold, so striking and so in tune with the landscape out
there," Tagliabue said. "I think that it is not only going to be a fun place but
a wonderful place to play the Super Bowl."
The Cardinals are tweaking the concept of luxury suites and leasing what they
market as "lofts" in the new building.
"It is such a nice thing that the excitement around the stadium and the upswing
around the team is coming at the same time," Tagliabue said.
--The most excitement in on offense, where RB Edgerrin James and QB Matt Leinart
have been added to a group that includes WRs Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin
and QB Kurt Warner.
"We like the fact that we are strong at the receiving corps and we think with
Edge, Marcel (Shipp) and J.J. (Arrington) we are strong at running back," coach
Dennis Green said. "I think those are two really good signs. We also think we
are strong on the offensive line. We've added to it and the guys we have brought
back are going to help us offensively and I think we have some good players at
the starting position."
--The Cardinals are promoting Steve Keim to head the college scouting department
in a retooling of the operation.
Scout George Boone is retiring. Dave Razzano, who was with the Rams for 14
seasons, is Boone's replacement. He will work the western part of the country.
Lonnie Young is being promoted to supervise the west.
--Coach Dennis Green used the accident involving Pittsburgh QB Ben Roethlisberger to remind his players to make good decisions away from the game.
"You always want the players to understand that anything they do off the field
-- whether it be skiing, water skiing, sky diving, motorcycling -- there is a
certain amount of judgment that has to be used about whether or not a guy should
do those things," Green said.
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
--Elton Brown, tossed in as a starter at right guard as a rookie last season,
took some snaps at right tackle during team organized workouts. Coach Dennis
Green said it is nothing more than a depth-building move during off-season.
FRANCHISE PLAYER: None.
TRANSITION PLAYER: None.
UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS
--C Billy Conaty (not tendered June 1).
--G Adam Haayer (not tendered June 1).
--RB James Jackson (not tendered June 1).
--FB Harold Morrow (not tendered June 1).
--RB J.R. Redmond (not tendered June 1).
--WR/KR Reggie Swinton (not tendered June 1).
--DE R-Kal Truluck (not tendered June 1).
RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS: None.
EXCLUSIVE RIGHTS FREE AGENTS: None.
--RB Damien Anderson: potential UFA; $545,000/1 yr, 2006 cap: $460,000.
--FB Obafemi Ayanbadejo: Potential UFA; 2 yrs, terms unknown.
--OT Jeremy Bridges: Not tendered as ERFA; 1 yr, terms unknown.
--DT Tim Bulman: ERFA; $350,000/1 yr.
--CB Dyshod Carter: ERFA; 1 yr, terms unknown.
--S Aaron Francisco: ERFA; $350,000/1 yr.
--LB Gerald Hayes: RFA; terms unknown, had been tendered at $721,600.
--LB Isaac Keys: Potential ERFA; $425,000/1 yr.
--DT Kenny King: RFA; had been tendered at $721,600.
--OL Shawn Lynch: ERFA; $350,000/1 yr.
--DE Langston Moore: ERFA; terms unknown.
--PK Nick Novak: ERFA; $350,000/1 yr.
--DE Anton Palepoi: Potential UFA; 1 yr, terms unknown.
--DE Antonio Smith: ERFA; $350,000/1 yr.
--CB Robert Tate: Potential UFA; 1 yr, terms unknown.
--QB Kurt Warner: Potential UFA; 3 yrs, terms unknown.
--OG Reggie Wells: RFA; matched Bills offer $17.6M/5 yrs, $3M SB/$2M RB.
--S Jack Brewer: UFA Eagles; terms unknown.
--LB Mark Brown: Not tendered as ERFA By Jets; terms unknown.
--OG Milford Brown: UFA Texans; $12M/4 yrs, $3M SB; 2006 cap: $2.75M.
--DT Kendrick Clancy: UFA Giants; $8.1M/4 yrs, SB unknown.
--RB Edgerrin James: UFA Colts; $30M/4 yrs, $7M SB/$4.5 RB; 2006 cap: $9.5M.
--WR Troy Walters: UFA Colts; terms unknown.
--OT Ian Allen: UFA Chiefs; terms unknown.
--DT Russell Davis: UFA Seahawks; 3 yrs, terms unknown.
--S Quentin Harris: UFA Giants; terms unknown.
--DT Ross Kolodziej: Not tendered as UFA/Vikings; 1 yr, terms unknown.
--QB Josh McCown: UFA Lions; $6M/2 yrs, $2M SB.
--CB Raymond Walls: UFA Chargers; terms unknown.